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What You Need in a Dispensary Security Plan

Posted by Mark Mariotti on Mar 29, 2019

Noncompliance is expensive. Cannabis dispensaries know this first-hand as they have some of the strictest regulations in the world. It is challenging to be in compliance with every regulation on the first try. What are the most common compliance problems? An adherence study of more than 600 compliance inspections reveals the top five cannabis dispensary infractions.

Two of the top five cannabis violations relate to security:

  • “The dispensing facility does not have accurate or updated tracking logs for visitors, security and/or waste.”
  • “Surveillance cameras do not have clear, unobstructed views of the license premise and blind spots or sight obstructions exist.”

Cannabis security regulations for dispensaries vary by state but they all contain detailed security requirements. The reasons for the strict security regulations are that the cannabis industry is a cash-heavy business that sells a highly sought-after product.

States like California list comprehensive requirements for security that get as specific as the minimum camera resolution, the frames per second, where to post cameras, and how long to store the video footage. You probably already know the laws for your state. Keep those handy as you work on your cannabis store security plan.

Here are the basics of what to put in the plan.


In the introduction, you’ll capture the purpose of the security plan and your objectives. Identify the roles of the employees responsible for maintaining, reviewing, and implementing the plan. Also, identify the sections in the dispensary security plan (DSP) and provide a brief description of each.

The DSP is a living document. You’ll update it as things change. To help employees understand what changed from the previous version, list the version number, date of implementation, and a summary of what is different.

Physical Building Design

Thoroughly describe the layout of the building, surrounding property, parking lot, and neighborhood. Add drawings of the items that appear on the property — everything from fencing and landscaping to lighting and camera locations.

Policies and Procedures

How will employees enter the facility? What areas require extra security that not all employees can access? Describe how the facility will handle delivery and visits from law enforcement and other non-customer guests, from arrival to entry to departure. Document the process for customers parking, entering, navigating, and leaving the store.

Document the following processes in the plan:

  • Conducting background checks before hiring
  • Onboarding of new employees
  • Training staff on policies and procedures
  • Managing of employees who quit or get fired
  • Opening and closing the store
  • Handling of product delivery
  • Managing and storing products
  • Designing and upkeeping incident log
  • Providing and removing employee access
  • Contacting law enforcement
  • Describing handling of every possible scenario (incidences, burglaries, breaches, emergencies, and loitering)
  • Preventing on-site consumption

Any employee should be able to open the plan and see what to do for these situations.

Security Measures

Detail all the security measures in place, everything from live video monitoring to storage locks. Dispensary security typically includes the following:

Storage locks

Even with remote video surveillance and access control systems, regulations may require the dispensary to have extra locks on storage.

Access control systems

The benefit of access control systems is that you can control who has access to which part of the building. For instance, you may only allow certain employees to enter the cannabis storage area. The plan will identify those roles. When an employee who has access quits working at the dispensary, you’ll need to remove the employee’s access.

Remote video surveillance

Document every single requirement and feature you need for your video surveillance system. You’ll want to cover where the cameras need to go, their resolution, and the system’s capabilities such as how long you will retain footage and how often you’ll do system health checks. Once you implement a system, add everything about the set up into the security plan.

It helps to include a sign-off sheet, or this can be kept separately in employees’ files. The sign-off sheet indicates the employee read and understood the DSP. The sign-off sheet can also be used for approving each new version. This prevents any “I didn’t know about the change” or “Did this change go through the proper channels for sign-off?”

Here’s what the outline of the DSP looks like:

  • Introduction
  • Physical Building Design
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Security Measures
    • Storage locks
    • Access control systems
    • Remove video surveillance
  • Sign-off sheet

DSP looks overwhelming. But it’s the reflection of the industry’s regulations. To ease things, you can work with companies that specialize in dispensary security. They know the rules and regulations and can customize a security system to help yours comply with all laws. If you need help with live video monitoring and access systems, please contact us.